Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

DVDs in Brief

Before it devolves into sentimental goo in its third act, Scott Marshall's Keeping Up With The Steins (Miramax) scores some big laughs lampooning the competitiveness and insane materialism surrounding the bar-mitzvah industry. Marshall gets a hilarious supporting performance from his real-life dad Garry Marshall as a freewheeling, clothing-averse hippie grandfather, but the film's sappy descent into movie-of-the-week territory reeks of the homogenizing influence of sitcom guru Garry…

Just in time for Borat, which sends its Kazakh reporter on a cross-country journey to find Pamela Anderson and "take her virgin," the first two seasons of Baywatch (First Look) have finally made their way to DVD. Why such a long wait? Maybe because people tended to watch the show for 15 minutes at a time while channel-surfing: a little of the famed JiggleVision, maybe a drowning orphan boy pulled out of the riptide, and that's about it. Is a whole season of this formula really necessary? Nevertheless, Anderson oglers will be wise to remember that she didn't start appearing on the show until season two…

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The freewheeling libertines at Vice magazine offer a behind-the-scenes look at some of their toughest hot-spot travelogues in the self-released DVD The Vice Guide To Travel, which journeys from Beirut to Bulgaria and Pakistan to Paraguay for short documentaries about international arms deals, mutated animals, and undercover Nazis. The reporters affect a bit too much "look how badass I am" attitude, especially given that a lot of these stories don't come to much, but the opportunity to see the word's most inaccessible places up close is worth suffering a little faux-cool…

Lately, cult DVD companies seem to be sprouting like wild onions, bringing the exploitation of yesteryear to the smut collectors of today. The latest to enter the fray is Private Screening Collection, a boutique label whose first two offerings are Black Venus (about an exotic seductress who drives one poor sculptor and the whole Victorian aristocracy wild with desire) and Lady Libertine (another Victorian tall tale, about a voluptuous woman who tries to pass as a boy, but gets found out when her rich adoptive father spanks her bare bottom). Both have a Cinemax-ready veneer of Euro-class, with bearskin rugs, crackling fires, and copious nudity.

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